My Visits to Enemy Territory – Ghat Bilod and Chengdu

The Armed Forces  train for the  next military engagement based on threat perceptions using simulated situations in war games or exercises on ground . The own country is generally called ” Blue land ” and the potential enemy ” Red Land ” . Due to frequent usage and exposure to such places on actual maps , one starts assuming these places on ground as actual enemy territories virtually. I had two interesting experiences in this context during my Army career –

I did my Junior Command Course at the  College Of Combat [now renamed Army War College] , Mhow  near Indore , Madhya Pradesh as a Major . Ghat Bilod is a place in Dhar District near Mhow  which used to be depicted as a forward post of Red Land in many of our exercises in the plains . Many a times, we planned the capture of this place  on maps and through ground exercises [simulated]  and the name of Ghat Bilod got imprinted in our minds as a strategic enemy post . One night when I was traveling  by an over night bus from Mumbai to Mhow ,returning from a vacation , I happened to see the signposts on the road informing that we are passing through Ghat Bilod . I could not help getting a creepy feeling and a tightening of my stomach muscle from tension!!!.

15 years later , as a senior officer attending a long course on Military Strategy at the same institution , we were war gaming possible scenarios  and threats from our immediate neighbors and  Chengdu in China was one of the major military garrison , marked as a major strategic position ,  where the Chinese had large troop concentrations  to take care of their concerns on Tibet and India . Many years later after my retirement , I had an opportunity to visit Chengdu in 2007 as a delegate to attend the CHINASOFT event – a software expo and seminar focused on animation , digital entertainment and gaming . While in Chengdu , I could not help feeling uncomfortable to some extent , remembering that it was an enemy territory  in my memory  for some time and the transformation of this city and my chance to visit this place thanks to globalization of business definitely reduced the intensity of my discomfort . The Information Technology and Internet has been a great barrier buster in International affairs!!

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